A year before the fruition of this event, I was researching diversity within major design firms in Atlanta and interviewing local creatives from a variety of cultural backgrounds. These conversations helped guide the creation of discussion prompts for facilitation. Staying true to the social issue, we met at a local restaurant owned by three people of color who support gay rights and invited two special guests to offer their community and design-focused perspective: Carlton Mackey, Director of Emory’s Ethics and Arts program and Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE ™ and Carmen Garcia, Creative Director at Realm Advertising. Some of the questions included, How do you overcome self-doubt and gain a sense of belonging? What are the benefits of diversifying the creative community? Where do you find your support systems and mentors?


Diversity exists but inclusion must be created. Past research can make a helluva difference later. Open discussions often generate their own questions. This was my first facilitation and looking back, there are several things I would have done differently, especially when it comes to timing and promotion. However, this event gave me the confidence to continue bringing awesome people together.